45 Die in Holiday Traffic, 14 Over 1989 Toll

From United Press International

At least 45 people died in California traffic accidents in the first 2 1/2 days of the Thanksgiving weekend, 14 more than in the same period last year, the California Highway Patrol said Saturday.

Drunk-driving arrests were also up, to 1,782 from 1,519 last year, CHP Officer Steve Munday said. The statistics were compiled from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Saturday.

Nine of the fatalities occurred in Los Angeles, including three early Saturday and one just before midnight Friday.

Nectali Reyes Ordenes, 23, and Nelson Javier Colindres, 24, were killed Saturday when a car driven by Ordenes' brother Efraim ran a stop sign in Northridge and collided with a car at Parthenia Street and Lindley Avenue, Officer Dennis Smith said.

Efraim Ordenes, 26, and the driver of the second car, Bernard Davidson, 68, of Chatsworth, suffered minor injuries and were taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

Smith said Ordenes apparently was racing with a third car when he ran the stop sign about 12:30 a.m. He was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

About 4:15 a.m., a newspaper courier was killed when his car was hit broadside by a car that ran a stop sign at Nugent Drive and Louise Avenue in Granada Hills, Smith said.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. The name of the 28-year-old victim, who lived in Sylmar, was withheld.

In Pacific Palisades, a 25-year-old man was killed about 11:15 p.m. Friday when he was speeding south on Palisades Drive and lost control of his car, smashing into a fire hydrant, Sgt. Robert Tupeto said. Police withheld the name of the victim, who was driving alone.

Earlier Friday, five people were fatally injured when a semitrailer truck ran a stop light and plowed into a row of cars in Riverside County.

The truck was traveling north about 10 a.m. on Interstate 215 near the Alessandro exit in the Moreno Valley area when the driver apparently ignored a stop sign. His truck plowed into at least four cars.

Three people died at the scene and two others died at area hospitals. Several other people were also hospitalized. The truck driver was arrested.

The highway was closed in both directions for at least an hour and holiday traffic was backed up for miles.

During the 1989 Thanksgiving weekend, 68 traffic deaths were recorded statewide, eight of them in Los Angeles County. Drunk-driving arrests totaled 2,427, with 572 logged in Los Angeles County.

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